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Red Corner (1997)
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Review Date: September 13, 1998
Director: Jon Avnet
Writer: Robert King
Producers: Jon Avnet and Jordan Kerner
Actors:
Richard Gere as Jack Moore
Bai Ling as Shen Yuelin
Plot:
Businessman Moore (Gere) goes to China to negotiate distribution rights to American television programs with the government of China. During a reckless night out, Mr. Moore hooks up with a sexy Chinese woman, bringing her back to his apartment for a little nightcap. The next day, Moore is awakened by the Chinese police, who charge him with the murder of said sexy Chinese woman, now lying dead in apartment. If found guilty, Moore could face the firing squad. The US embassy, many high-ranking Chinese officials, and an intelligent Chinese defense lawyer all get involved in this mysterious case.
Critique:
Interesting, insightful, somewhat derivative, and a tad overlong, suspense tale that managed to keep me awake and entertained through most of its hackneyed tactics and plot twists. Granted, I recently saw RETURN TO PARADISE (8/10) set in Malaysia, which was much more original and gripping. True, the ultimate American-caught-in-a-foreign-jail-cell film will always be MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (8/10). But having said that, this film was good enough for what it was (mindless entertainment for Mrs. JoBlo, me and some nachos on a Saturday nite), and even offered some small moments of actual suspense.

Interesting, insightful, somewhat derivative, and a tad overlong, suspense tale that managed to keep me awake and entertained through most of its hackneyed tactics and plot twists. Granted, I recently saw RETURN TO PARADISE (8/10) set in Malaysia, which was much more original and gripping. True, the ultimate American-caught-in-a-foreign-jail-cell film will always be MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (8/10). But having said that, this film was good enough for what it was (mindless entertainment for Mrs. JoBlo, me and some nachos on a Saturday nite), and even offered some small moments of actual suspense.
The acting was so-so on Gere's part, who seems to be walking through most of his roles of late, (on his way to the Dalai Lama's pad, I imagine) but a great performance by his defense lawyer, Bai Ling, makes the characters much more compelling than they might've been on paper. Another thing that I liked about this film is the fact that it didn't just show the Chinese justice system as an ancient, unfair system compared to our "great"American counterpart. The film made sure that we saw some of the strengths in their system, while simultaneously demonstrating the real weaknesses that remain in ours.

All in all, the film is no masterpiece by any stretch of the "fish out of water movies" book of imagination, but I guess it didn't really hurt while swallowing and left very little taste in my mouth, so check it out if you feel like a decent thrilling flick set in a foreign country starring the wonderboy of salt-and-pepper hair, Richard Gere (Note: There's also a decent shot of Rick's big white ass at one point in this picture...if you're into that kind of thing, that is.) Keep in mind that I found the ending to be rather anti-climactic, and that the film could have been cut by about twenty minutes or so, but with my nachos warm and my Coke cold as ice, what the heck did I have to complain about ?!?
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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